29.3. Server Configuration with slapd.conf

Your installed system contains a complete configuration file for your LDAP server at /etc/openldap/slapd.conf. The single entries are briefly described here and necessary adjustments are explained. Entries prefixed with a hash (#) are inactive. This comment character must be removed to activate them.

29.3.1. Global Directives in slapd.conf

Example 29.2. slapd.conf: Include Directive for Schemes

include /etc/openldap/schema/core.schema 
include /etc/openldap/schema/inetorgperson.schema

This first directive in slapd.conf, shown in Example 29.2, “slapd.conf: Include Directive for Schemes”, specifies the scheme by which the LDAP directory is organized. The entry core.schema is compulsory. Additionally required schemes are appended to this directive (inetorgperson.schema has been added here as an example). More available schemes can be found in the directory /etc/openldap/schema. For replacing NIS with an analogous LDAP service, include the two schemes rfc2307.schema and cosine.schema. Information can be found in the included OpenLDAP documentation.

Example 29.3. slapd.conf: pidfile and argsfile

pidfile /var/run/slapd/slapd.pid
argsfile /var/run/slapd/slapd.args

These two files contain the PID (process ID) and some of the arguments with which the slapd process is started. There is no need for modifications here.

Example 29.4. slapd.conf: Access Control

# Sample Access Control
#       Allow read access of root DSE
# Allow self write access
#       Allow authenticated users read access
#       Allow anonymous users to authenticate
# access to dn="" by * read
  access to * by self write
              by users read
              by anonymous auth
# if no access controls are present, the default is:
#       Allow read by all
# rootdn can always write!

Example 29.4, “slapd.conf: Access Control” is the excerpt from slapd.conf that regulates the access permissions for the LDAP directory on the server. The settings made here in the global section of slapd.conf are valid as long as no custom access rules are declared in the database-specific section. These would overwrite the global declarations. As presented here, all users have read access to the directory, but only the administrator (rootdn) can write to this directory. Access control regulation in LDAP is a highly complex process. The following tips can help:

  • Every access rule has the following structure:

    access to <what> by <who> <access>
  • what is a placeholder for the object or attribute to which access is granted. Individual directory branches can be protected explicitly with separate rules. It is also possible to process regions of the directory tree with one rule by using regular expressions. slapd evaluates all rules in the order in which they are listed in the configuration file. More general rules should be listed after more specific ones—the first rule slapd regards as valid is evaluated and all following entries are ignored.

  • who determines who should be granted access to the areas determined with what. Regular expressions may be used. slapd again aborts the evaluation of who after the first match, so more specific rules should be listed before the more general ones. The entries shown in Table 29.2, “User Groups and Their Access Grants” are possible.

    Table 29.2. User Groups and Their Access Grants




    all users without exception


    not authenticated (“anonymous”) users


    authenticated users


    users connected with the target object


    all users matching the regular expression

  • access specifies the type of access. Use the options listed in Table 29.3, “Types of Access”.

    Table 29.3. Types of Access


    Scope of Access


    no access


    for contacting the server


    to objects for comparison access


    for the employment of search filters


    read access


    write access

    slapd compares the access right requested by the client with those granted in slapd.conf. The client is granted access if the rules allow a higher or equal right than the requested one. If the client requests higher rights than those declared in the rules, it is denied access.

Example 29.5, “slapd.conf: Example for Access Control” shows an example of a simple access control that can be arbitrarily developed using regular expressions.

Example 29.5. slapd.conf: Example for Access Control

access to  dn.regex="ou=([^,]+),dc=suse,dc=de" 
by dn.regex="cn=administrator,ou=$1,dc=suse,dc=de" write  
by user read 
by * none

This rule declares that only its respective administrator has write access to an individual ou entry. All other authenticated users have read access and the rest of the world has no access.

[Tip]Establishing Access Rules

If there is no access to rule or no matching by directive, access is denied. Only explicitly declared access rights are granted. If no rules are declared at all, the default principle is write access for the administrator and read access for the rest of the world.

Find detailed information and an example configuration for LDAP access rights in the online documentation of the installed openldap2 package.

Apart from the possibility to administer access permissions with the central server configuration file (slapd.conf), there is ACI, access control information. ACI allows storage of the access information for individual objects within the LDAP tree. This type of access control is not yet common and is still considered experimental by the developers. Refer to http://www.openldap.org/faq/data/cache/758.html for information.

29.3.2. Database-Specific Directives in slapd.conf

Example 29.6. slapd.conf: Database-Specific Directives

database ldbm 
suffix "dc=suse,dc=de" 
rootdn "cn=admin,dc=suse,dc=de" 
# Cleartext passwords, especially for the rootdn, should 
# be avoided.  See slappasswd(8) and slapd.conf(5) for details. 
# Use of strong authentication encouraged.
rootpw secret 
# The database directory MUST exist prior to running slapd AND 
# should only be accessible by the slapd/tools. Mode 700 recommended. 
directory /var/lib/ldap 
# Indices to maintain 
index   objectClass     eq

The type of database, LDBM in this case, is determined in the first line of this section (see Example 29.6, “slapd.conf: Database-Specific Directives”). The second line determines, with suffix, for which portion of the LDAP tree this server should be responsible. The following rootdn determines who owns administrator rights to this server. The user declared here does not need to have an LDAP entry or exist as regular user. The administrator password is set with rootpw. Instead of using secret here, it is possible to enter the hash of the administrator password created by slappasswd. The directory directive indicates the directory (in the file system) where the database directories are stored on the server. The last directive, index objectClass eq, results in the maintenance of an index of all object classes. Attributes for which users search most often can be added here according to experience. Custom Access rules defined here for the database are used instead of the global Access rules.

29.3.3. Starting and Stopping the Servers

Once the LDAP server is fully configured and all desired entries have been made according to the pattern described in Section 29.4, “Data Handling in the LDAP Directory”, start the LDAP server as root by entering rcldap start. To stop the server manually, enter the command rcldap stop. Request the status of the running LDAP server with rcldap status.

The YaST runlevel editor, described in Section 7.6, “System Services (Runlevel)”, can be used to have the server started and stopped automatically on boot and halt of the system. It is also possible to create the corresponding links to the start and stop scripts with the insserv command from a command prompt as described in Section 7.5.1, “Adding init Scripts”.

SUSE LINUX Administration Guide 9.3